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Arcade in the Sky Blog: July 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Otakon 2010 Report

otakon2010 143
Originally uploaded by HazeStudiosGames
Otakon was a blast this year. I met some great people and had a great time.

I also took many pictures.

I have a lot to say about my experiences at Otakon. This will take more than one post, and I'll have to take several days to edit this post to where I like it.

That being said, I'll start by recapping my footsteps. I arrived on Thursday, alone. My friend did not arrive until that night. I used the time to check into the Holiday Inn and to walk around Inner Harbor Baltimore. Sadly, the area has seen better days. ESPN Zone has closed, many stores in the Inner Harbor mall have closed as well. The fountains were also offline. I spent the night at Howl at the Moon. This is a great bar to party at.

Friday was much more fun. I went to an Evangelion Panel, where I learned about evageeks.org and evamonkey.com. They had lots of interesting information about the Eva franchise. I also got to hang out with Dave Lister and talk about DS development. There were great things at the artist's alley and dealers room, as per usual. I was happy to see they turned on the fountain system for the weekend.

Saturday, I saw a panel on Gainax, where I learned about this piece of AMV greatness:

Sunday was slow, as we packed up. I did get to actually relax this weekend, and got to try some games I've been wanting to, namely Transformers: War for Cybertron and Dragon Age: Origins. They were both good, but I've got too much on my plate to play them full time. I will have to check out Darksiders, though.

All in all, it was a good Otakon to end my 13 year run. I'm off to new adventures. More on that later.

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Otakon Countdown 2: Arrival

Well, as you may have noticed, my plan didn't go over too well. The plan was to do a topical post everyday leading up to Otakon. However, events have transpired that jeopardized my even going to Otakon this year!

Luckily, they have been resolved. I'll be at Otakon and I'll be having a great time. I can't wait to see you all there!
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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Otakon Countdown 11: Peter S. Beagle

Today I'd like to shift gears and start talking about what I'm looking forward to at Otakon this year. The only guest I really need to see this year is Peter S. Beagle. He wrote "The Last Unicorn" my favorite fantasy novel. Now, what does this have to do with anime? Almost anyone at Otakon will know about the 1981 animated movie, produced by Rankin Bass. Rankin Bass is most famous for doing "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" Christmas special and others, but they also did Thundercats. This movie was produced by a studio in Japan that would go on to become Studio Ghibli, which makes Hayao Miyazaki movies.

That being said, this is my favorite movie of all time. It's so good, I purposefully restrain myself to only watch it once a year. I'm afraid if I watch it enough to memorize all the lines, some of the magic will be lost.

And this movie has lots of magic. Two years ago I was stokes because Peter was going to be the guest, and I brought my copy of the movie for him to sign. He didn't make it. The next year, he was scheduled to be the guest again, but I figured he'd flake again so I didn't bother to bring my copy. He did show up and I was kicking myself. He did a great live performance of a Commentary on the movie. I ended up buying a picture of the Red Bull and having him sign that. That autograph is on my wall right now.
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Saturday, July 17, 2010

Otakon Countdown 12: Speed Racer-Peter Fernandez dies at 83

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Otakon Countdown 13: Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu

Sorry I missed yesterday, but I was just going to talk about HEROMAN again.

Today I'd like to continue the thread of posting what anime I am currently following. Today it's Nogizaka Haruka no Himitsu which translates to 'Haruka Nogizaka's Secret'. What is that secret? She's an Otaku. Yep, she's the most popular girl in school, yet she's secretly a comic book geek. She hides her hobby with the shame one would hide an alternative lifestyle or a horrific birthmark. Her secret is discovered by average student Yuuto. Haruka is initially horrified that she'll be revealed, but Yuuto tells her she'll be fine, and that she should just be herself. Haruka then takes a liking to Yuuto and they begin their romance.

This anime originated not in a manga, but a light novel. This is a book with an occasional piece of manga art through in now and again. Otaku in the US have been going gaga over these, and you can find some at the local Border/ Barnes and Noble. This is not an original invention, however. Pulp Magazines are the same thing, and we had those in America since the 30's. Doc Savage and The Shadow got their start there.

Anyway, I'm liking how this anime is playing out. I'm not going to spoil the plot or taint your opinions with my hang-ups--at least not yet. I'm just recommending you go to Crunchy Roll and watch it!
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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Otakon Countdown 15: Avatar Review

Well, it's almost time for Otakon, the biggest anime con on the East coast. I get hyped for this every year. However, this year will be my 13th year in a row, and it may be my last. I have much more obligations as a game designer now, so my travel time needs to be devoted more to spreading that gospel.

At any rate, I'm going to have a special countdown, where I post an Otakon related post everyday until I leave. Bare in mind I'll be there the Thursday before the con starts, the 29th, so that I might pick up my badge.

Now on to the first post, I'll review what anime I am currently watching. Yes, Avatar is on my list right now. This was a series that has always been on my to-do list, but I never found the time. With the movie out now, and everyone talking about it--talking smack, the curiosity finally overwhelmed me. I cued up my Netflix and started on this lofty journey. I'm just starting the third and final season now, and I'm loving every minute of it.

Many people talk about Avatar, but most don't go into specifics; they just say 'it's great!'. Now I can see why--there's so much to talk about in this show, it's intimidating. To start to talk about some of it good points means you could be going all night and into dawn.

I'll try to restrain myself by listing my TOP 10 favorite things about Avatar.

10. Anime influence. Yes, this is a western cartoon, but the Tezuka influenced character designs are very charming. This is a reason I stick with anime, even after 20 years.

9. high quality art. The design and background paintings are absolutely amazing, and the animation is just as great.

8. continual story. This brings me back to my days in the college anime club watching Ruroni Kenshin. The large story arcs are rewarding to watch and always keep you on the edge of your seat.

7. blind jokes. Yes, this is a Nickelodeon show, so sex and violence is out of the question, but they do push the envelope in one area. They make fun of the handicapped. The character does not appear until half way through the series, but after that many jokes are placed on that person.

6. A strong philosophy. There is a real thought-out process to the philosophy of each of the characters and their actions. Each character has a reason for how they act, and it all relates back to the shows central theme of the 4 elements.

5. Knows when to quit. Three seasons is plenty to tell a good story and explore all the character relationships. Good shows know when to quit--I'm looking at you, Gargoyles the Goliath Chronicles!

4. Natural fight sequences. With action shows, there always seems to be a few bad episodes where there is a strong villian and a strong hero, but there isn't always a good reason for them to fight in each episode. Usually, the writers pull out the 'oops! misunderstanding! let's fight!' card. Not here. Each of the fights happen organically from the narrative. Or at the very least, they have some creative thinking behind them.

3. 3 dimensional characters. This has to be a given. Great characters are what make following a long story rewarding. Characters have motivation and faults, but they are not obdurate. They are human enough to admit when they are wrong and get on with there lives.

2. emotional honesty. Going back to what I said before, the characters are emotionally honest. They don't hold petty grudges and deny their own feelings just to keep conflict up for a few more episodes. They are aware of their emotional states and can talk them out. The writers don't take the easy way out and present the characters like real people.

1. non-verbal communication. This is massively difficult for children's entertainment and animation. This show actually has important information conveyed with glances, body language and tone of voice. Because there are so many steps between the writer and the finished animation, many shows just have dialogue explain all necessary information. This show is bold by taking the complexity up a notch. With shows for kids, the rule is 'the characters must always be talking, else you loose the child's short attention span'. If you don't believe me, watch the "dubtitled" Sailor Moon on youtube. The biggest difference for the American version is that the characters never shut up. Pages of dialogue and monologue are added when the characters backs are away from the camera, just to keep the words ongoing. It's insulting. In Avatar, there are some pauses in dialogue. Not only that, the WAY things are said is important. Luckily, the top-notch acting there to support this.
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Connecticon Report

I got back from Connecticon on Saturday night, but unfortunately my photos came out all blurry, so I couldn't put up a gallery. I will say that I had a great time. The cosplay there was amazing. None of the panels really caught my eye. There was a ton of space devoted to table-top play--twice that of the dealers room.

I got to have a good conversation with Dave Lister and got to see Chris Hazelton of Misfile.
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Friday, July 9, 2010

My Big Fat Greek Website

I just got done watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It's a nice movie. For those who haven't heard, this was an independent film from 2002 that became very popular due to work-of-mouth. It's really an autobiographical story about a girl growing up with in a family of Greek immigrants. It follows Tuola from childhood to her wedding. While that might sound like a movie that drags, it does. But it doesn't drag oppressively so. It's still a good watch with good pacing.

It still remains a good date movie.

There is one thing I'd like to post here, it's an article about an running gag in the film--one I think is hilarious;

Windex is a Cure for Everything!
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Time Gal Playthrough

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Just need some time

Well, the main work for my next game has been finished. There is still work to be done, but right now most of my days are comprised of reviewing the game bit by bit and improving or replacing images as I come across them.

I'm not exactly sure how long this will take, but since out last game has yet to be released on the DSiWare, it's hard to feel rushed.

In the meantime, I'd like to get back to some hardcore podcasting. I turned around to realized we haven't podcasted in.. like... a year. hmmm.

Well, we have a new venue and a new series should be starting up next week. Stay tuned!
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Friday, July 2, 2010


Podcasts are here.
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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Megaman: A Mega Man

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